There are many great urban venues for weddings in downtown Toronto, yet few are as full of charm, history, style and character as the Toronto Distillery District.
We have a chance to shoot Wedding Photography at the Toronto Distillery District often. Below is some practical information and romantic reflection, along with photography from three separate venues at the Distillery District. I hope they can help you decide if this is indeed the best Toronto Urban Venue for your specific Wedding, Engagement and photography needs.
DISTILLERY DISTRICT LOCATION AND HISTORY:
Technically, the Distillery Historic District is situated at 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4 according to google Maps. To clarify, the Distillery District neighbourhood area is located between the streets or Parliament, Mill and Cherry. Just north of the QEW highway.
Over 20 years ago, this rundown historic 19th century Gooderham & Worts Distillery was transformed into a modern creative neighbourhood masterpiece. The 47 building located here now house galleries, stores, studios, theatres, residential condominiums and a number of world class restaurants.
It is at these venues and the charming industrial, urban chic streets of the Distillery District that we often have the privilege of photographing weddings, receptions and couple engagement sessions.
Entering the Distillery District you immediately feel as if you stepped back in time. Into an era of horses, sailing ships, and early film cameras requiring 20+ seconds of absolute stillness per each family portrait exposure! Craziness! The attention to detail in this neighbourhood is remarkable. Not just on the outside but inside each individual restaurant or wedding venue located at the Distillery District.
THREE BEST WEDDING VENUES AT THE DISTILLERY DISTRICT:
There are three venue in particular which we can easily recommend as best locations for your wedding day reception at the Distillery District. Those wedding venue locations, listed from largest to smallest are; The Fermenting Cellar, Archeo and Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie. Read more below about each one.
The Fermenting Cellar
The Fermenting Cellar, is the largest and most impressive flagship space for a wedding ceremony and reception at the Distillery District. This industrial chic venue site was originally constructed in 1859. It retains its heavy timber beams and Kingston limestone walls. It is a dramatic space located below the street level. Little to no natural light enters the space. Therefore, The Fermenting Cellar is often lit with stunning candle light and chandeliers. Menus are customizable and can be created from-scratch for up to 250 seated guests.
If you value natural light and don’t need a space as big as the Fermenting Celler, we suggest you take a look at Archeo. Archeo is most recognizable for the highly sought after outdoor courtyard patio. The large private courtyard is away from the bustle of the visitors. In summer it’s-full of potted flowers and shade perfect for great wedding photography images. In the evening the space creates a fairytale vibe lit by a canopy of lights. We find that these lights show up very well in images.
Archeo’s main indoor space is a repurposed 19th century carpentry shop. It features high pine ceilings, and exposed-brick walls and some natural light. The indoor space is equally as large and private as the outdoor patio. Archeo is a perfect space for wedding ceremonies and receptions of about 100 – 140 people. But what if you need a smaller space for your urban intimate wedding reception at the Distillery District? Read on!
Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
The Cluny Bistro restaurant offers a Private Dining Room. Aztec blue tiles and antique hand-picked adornments abound. It features breathtaking design in a casual atmosphere. The restaurant serves tasty modern French classics and can accommodate up to 64 guests for a seated dinner in the private dining room located near the back of the bistro. More intimate gatherings are possible for up to 24 or 40 guests by deviding the room into east and west sections. The Cluny Bistro is a great choice for a more intimate Wedding Day celebration at the Distillery District.
DISTILLERY HISTORIC DISTRICT PHOTOGRAPHY PERMITS INFORMATION:
No matter which of the three venues you choose for your wedding, you will require a photography permit to shoot outside of your venue. To be sure, the best locations for wedding photography at the Toronto Distillery District are outside of the venues and in public. The required photography permit has recently increased to $500. Although it is a substantial amount, we think its worth it. There are few other wedding photography venues in the city which can match the aesthetic and historic appeal of the Distillery District. You can obtain a photography permit here: DISTILLERY DISTRICT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PERMIT
ENGAGEMENT COUPLE SESSIONS AT THE DISTILLERY DISTRICT:
The Distillery District is also a great place for Engagement and Couple Photography Sessions. The stone buildings and industrial streets make for a romantic urban chic background for your photography. You may think that the street will be too busy to capture your intimate moments. However, we have not found so. The neighbourhood seems big enough. We always seem to be able to find a more secluded empty locations regardless of the general visitor traffic. However, please note that as above, engagement sessions also require a pre-arranged photography permit.
SO, IS THE TORONTO DISTILLERY DISTRICT YOUR PERFECT WEDDING VENUE?
Maybe. If you are looking for an urban historic yet chic wedding venue for 24 to 250 people, it just maybe your perfect venue for your wedding day.
I think it’s the fusion of past history and modern design which created this very unique urban venue. This tangible vibe that reminds us that brand new things aren’t always better and that past history and retro charm is something to be valued, cherished and enjoyed along with modern conveniences.
After finishing a recent spring engagement photo shoot at the Distillery District grounds, I saw an older couple dressed in trench coats. They walked slowly in silence along the wet cobble stones of Trinity street. Holding hands tenderly as their shoes tapped along their way. Surrounded by the historic stone buildings of the Distillery District they smiled at each other and walked on.
In that moment I was reminded that true love is both fragile and timeless. It has no real sense of past or future. It exists only in the present moment no matter when it started or when it may end. It’s not created by latest trends but by relationships formed by people, generation after each generation. We love the same way no matter when in time we live, no matter our age, religion, orientation or race. It is our defining human condition and it is beautiful.
Perhaps this is the biggest secret asset of the Distillery District. The ability to remind us through history that the love we now feel was and is always precious and timeless.
If you are thinking of or have booked a Toronto Distillery District Wedding, we would love to hear from you!